Not All Swine-Flu Vaccine Skeptics Are "Anti-Vaxxers"

What Women Really Think
Oct. 5 2009 6:26 PM

Not All Swine-Flu Vaccine Skeptics Are "Anti-Vaxxers"

Amanda , I agree with about 95 percent of your post on vaccines. The "anti-vaxxers" drive me a little nutty, whether the argument is from the left (vaccines are unnatural) or the right (the government can’t make me vaccinate my kids). You don’t want to vaccinate your kids? Great. I hope you like home-schooling. Because I don’t want my children caught up in a measles or whooping cough outbreak because they go to public schools with unvaccinated children.

All that said, I cop to a wee bit of nervousness about the swine flu vaccine. I’m not afraid of "conspiracy theories and government misbehavior" like Rob Stein writes about in the Washington Post . And it’s not about the cost or the time out of my day. I’ve dutifully lined up my three kids for all the vaccines their pediatrician throws at them, and we’ve had almost no side effects. But those vaccines have been used for years. The H1N1 vaccine is new, and trials started in early August , with trials on kids starting a couple of weeks after that. And let’s not forget that in 1976, during an outbreak of the swine flu, one person died from the flu and 25 from complications from the vaccine .

Advertisement

I know, I know. This flu strain is different, and this vaccine is supposed to be better , and early trials showed few side effects. Stein’s article quotes a flu vaccine expert from the Mayo Clinic as saying "People seem to be wired two ways. One group is wired this way: 'If there was something I could have done and didn't do and something happened, I would never forgive myself.' The other group is: 'If I do this and something happens, I'd never forgive myself.' "

Me, I feel like I’m in both groups, which makes for an impossible decision. Will my kids get the swine flu vaccine? Probably, assuming that my pediatrician thinks it’s safe. Will I personally? I dunno. But I think a lot of people are struggling with the same decision, and it’s not just the fringe.

Join the conversation. Follow DoubleX on Twitter .

Rachael Larimore is Slate's managing editor.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.